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Over a quarter of C-suites say their hybrid work model won’t be ready until 2022

Survey reveals few companies have got in place, or even established, norms and policies to address the new world of hybrid working

One of the key trends of the post-Covid work arena is that firms have realised they will have to adopt, and adapt to, a new hybrid model of working, but West Monroe’s latest Quarterly executive poll has found that 150 C-level executives at companies with over $250m in revenue are not yet prepared for the post-pandemic hybrid work reality.

As well as a lack of preparedness, the survey found that among senior management, there were worries about not only a talent crisis, but also employees expressing concern about the way they would carry on working.

The survey revealed that nearly half (45%) of senior managers said their top priority when designing a new work model was employee wants and needs. This was well above a desire to satisfy customer/clients wants and needs (25%). But as of now, only 19% have established norms and policies for their new working model – whether that be remote working, in-person or the new hybrid model. The majority (48%) plan to have it ready by the summer, but 26% don’t think they will have it until the end of 2021. 

A top request (73%) that C-suite audiences were receiving from employees was a request for permanent working from home or remote arrangements. But just over two-thirds (68%) of respondents said clarity/certainty on timing for the post-pandemic working model was the top request they were receiving from workers right now.

The report also revealed that 56% of firms were responding to changing customer expectations by implementing new customer interfaces and technologies. This was followed by installing new communication methods (cited by 46%) and new delivery models (43%). Just over two-fifths (41%) said they had adapted their workforce.

As for what they perceived as the leading challenges and priorities in designing new hybrid work models, respondents said building/keeping a company culture was the key issue, indicated by 60%. Meeting employee wants and needs was a priority for 45%, while deciding when to start phasing in the hybrid work model was cited by 42%.

Other key personnel-related matters highlighted by the research included the finding that three-fifths of firms expected to hire more people in the second quarter of 2021, while one-third expect little to no change. Despite nearly three million women dropping out of the workforce in 2020 because of Covid, nearly a quarter (23%) of execs said they were not taking action on the decline of the female workforce (due to the pandemic) at their company.

This was even though the C-suite audience knew that the risk of burnout at their firms was high. As many as 63% said this was the biggest challenge they were facing right now, followed by remote onboarding (48%) and attracting/hiring the right talent (38%). A quarter (25%) said that the Covid-19 vaccine uptake rate among their employee population would determine when they return for on-site work, but half of the executives were still unsure how they would track that.

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